I loved this novel by John Grisham. I have read every one of his books, and was held captive until the end. I won't go into great detail as some of the reviewers before me have. Beware: some of the reviews give a little bit of the ending away, and the not knowing is what makes the story so good. There are some twists and turns along the way that make for some interesting reading. This is the first book that I am aware of that John Grisham wrote his opinion of some judicial decisions and background events. I didn't take offense at it as some readers before me have. I went to bed late reading this book, and woke up early to finish it. In my humble opinion, I think this is one of John Grisham's best works of fiction.
This book lays bare the corruption involved in a judicial system based on electing the members of a state supreme court. But the book also shows what can happen when money can be used to control any elected office. When someone is elected, that has received millions of dollars from interested parties, it gives one pause to think what the giver of that money is expecting in return.
I'm not sure that John Grisham is still the author that he once started out to be with his first several books. I found this book to be rather hard to keep track of all the different characters that are incorporated into the store telling. It did keep me going till about the last one-third of the book. I finally got through it, but makes me want to look at his writings in more detail the next time he comes out with another book.
John Grisham returns to genre he made famous with the legal thriller, "The Appeal". This is a book with a lot of good qualities and a book I really wanted to like, but in the end I was disappointed both in the direction the plot took and the overall message of the book.
The ending, however realistic it might be, is ultimately sad and frustrating. I wonder if the Grisham's goal was to agitate readers into political action. Personally, I'd rather the novel end with at least a hint of the good guys. That said, if you want a story in which the underdog wins, I'd pass on this one.
I've read all of Grisham's books, and this is one of my favorites. This book is a wonderful example of how fiction can be used to educate the public. My guess is that before reading this novel, very few people put much thought into the politicization of judges by electing them to office, but it happens throughout our country every year. This book is a strong political statement against the politics of judges, but it also a very well written book with an extremely interesting plot.
This book starts as a novel and turns into a soapbox. Very readable and entertaining, but there comes a point in this book where you get pulled out of the make believe story and back into reality. A very contrived climax was very disappointing after a page-turning build-up.
* * ½*. Legal Drama. Giant corporation loses against struggling law firm for dumping toxins and polluting town water. Hasn't this story been done umpteen times already? Goliath decides to fight and goes for ... you got it ... The Appeal.
You think you know how the story will go, and you may be right. But Grisham provides enough twists to make this a tolerable read.
Overall, I liked this book although it left bitter and scary feeling in me at the end. It was a very timely reading after all sorts of election campaign in 2008 and was definitely an interesting read for me as a non-American, who is less familiar with political and judicial issues (or corruption, I would say).
Although I couldn't relate much to characters in the book, how things evolved around the litigation was very, very interesting. It made me think how things in the (political) world really are happening and how many incidents are actually related under the surface. We really need to keep our eyes open and watch closely our surrounding events...
I heard there was actually similar real story in West Virginia, the 2004 election of Brent Benjamin to the state Supreme Court of Appeals. If you are interestd in, here is link with John Grisham's short interview. The article title is "John Grisham disses Blankenship, WV court" ==> http://www.wvoter-owned.org/news/2008/01_30a.html
Really interesting story about how the legal system can be manipulated by power and money. Even tho this is fiction I'm sure this happens in real life. Really indicates how life is not fair. I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you are a John Grisham fan. Quick read.
The story centers on a Mississippi law firm consisting of husband and wife who wins a big verdict over a chemical giant, Krane, that has spread carcinogenic pollutants. Krane, fearful that this verdict, if not overturned, would set a precedent that would eventually destroy it, goes into action. It files an appeal that will find its way to the state supreme court, and hires a "dirty tricks" firm to unseat a sitting justice believed to be unfriendly.
Essentially it's a sordid tale of big business and politics vs. big verdicts and class action lawsuits, it begins nicely, and gathers steam, then proceeds to continue blowing hot air at the reader until the unsatisfactory quickie ending.
While there's some food for thought regarding how the legal, political, religious and business arenas may all be connected, there's more garnish than meat in a story which could have been cut by about 100 pages of the filler, and sweetened with about 50 more pages of conclusion for dessert
Right from the beginning you had a pretty good idea of how it would end - not well.
I found my self feeling quite angry by the end of this book. Angry because this could have been a true story. Things like this happen and the world can be a very unfair and corrupt place. I do think this should have been a shorter book. Too many details!! I am still thinking about it 5 days later however, which I think was Grisham's goal.
I found this Grisham novel a bit slow and was surprised by the ending. Although the story line was very timely, I wasn't as riveted as I've been with other novels from this author. All in all, though, not a bad book. Just not one of the best I've read from this author.
This book was different from his normal work because it left you with the question of what is right and wrong not a specific criminal and good attorney like he always has in the past. Not as entertaining but still is worth reading.
This is an excellent fiction book, but it makes me wonder how fair our justice system is.
If I had a choice I would choose a jury trial by my peers, over "Justices". My brother gave me this advice after working many years in "justice" System.
In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town's water supply, causing the worst "cancer cluster" in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.
Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?
The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.
The Appeal is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of political and legal intrigue, a story that will leave listeners unable to think about our electoral process or judicial system in quite the same way ever again.
Highly suspenseful fictional book that brings reality of election of jurists and present day issues to be revisted. Through Mr. Grisham powerful story is told a scenerio involving the system of electing individuals for the State Supreme Courts, greed of big business and many trial lawyers, and the struggles to represent and protect the citizens with many agendas. This book is definitely a timely and shocking "plot twisting" story which will leave the reader with inability to think of the judicial system in the same "innocent" way again.
I am a Grisham fan, having read all of his books. This one I found to be quite under par - in fact, boring! If you are new to Grisham, I would recommend reading his earlier works such as "Rainmaker," "The Client," or "The Pelican Brief."
I'm a fan of Grisham's other books, but this one was a big let down.
The writing style is compact but the story ran out of steam after the first half. It became an editorial about the election of judges and lost its entertainment value. The last twist of the book was a gratuitous torture of a main character due to his selling out to corporate greed. Overall, it just wasn't a satisfying read, no matter where your politics are.
Another spellbinder from Grisham...will make you think about all the elections you've ever been involved in. Grisham brings you into a world you never knew existed and although he denies any truth to it it leaves you with the hairs up on the back of your neck! As with any of his books always a great read. He shows us the legal system as we never knew it!
I enjoyed this audio-book...mostly. At times the plot rambled a bit, but during the long drive I took while listening to the 10 CDs, it was interesting enough for me to keep going with it. I did find the reader's voice and southern accent a bit annoying at times. If you like Grisham, you will not be disappointed.
If you're a John Grisham fan you will surely enjoy this one; but I find his characters wooden and his plots predictable. Obviously he's a good storyteller, but this is not the book to read if you are looking for a literary novel.
After being disappointed with several of Grisham's latest books, this one stands out. Grisham's got his groove back. Lots of lawyer-ese without boring the reader. And the subject is certainly timely and interesting, with a range of fascinating characters. Not as gripping as The Firm, but definitely a good read.
I'm a John G. fan and this book really upset me 'cause I didn't expect the end!! It's very realistic as are the majority of his books and it even gave me goose bumps to think that our Justice system can be set up in the way he writes. Scary but prob true... a very good read if you like JG
Michael Beck is one of my favorite Narrators and he does a superb job on this one as well. Characters are distinguishable by their voices and his timing and cadence made this a delight to listen to. The story however, my opinion is love/hate. Grisham's writing was on target as always, but this book should make you HATE big business and how they can negatively impact our lives on so many levels. In a few states in this country, Mississippi being one of them, supreme court justices are elected rather than appointed - which means the seat is available to whomever has the most money.
This is typical Grisham... captures the interest from the start. While this story is fiction one can find many similarities to real life.
After finishing the book I picked up the newspaper and read an article (excerpts & summary follow) about Massey Energy the nations 6th largest coal company located in W Va and operator of The Upper Big Branch mine. Big Branch has a troubled safety record and was hit with $900,000 in federal fines in 2009. for 500 alleged safety violations according to Labor Dept records.
Massey CEO lost a $50 Million verdict in a fraud lawsuit and spent $3 million to help elect a state appellate judge who ended up casting a crucial vote to overturn the verdict against Massey. The CEO has donated $50,200 to federal candidates since 1989 and people associated w/ Massey and it's PAC have donated $307,000 to federal political candidates since 1990.
The above resulted in a US Supreme Court dispute that tested the effect of campaign donations in judicial elections. The high court said "a judge must pull out of a case when a serious risk of actual bias arises". Now if we could just get the court to do the same with political contributions and bias!!!
This one will get you thinking about what really goes on behind the scenes in our political and justice system.
Terrific book! One of Grisham's best I thought. I felt as if I learned a lot from reading this book and could feel my blood pressure rising at the thought that this is really how things are done in our judicial system. It made me SO angry! I still think about it often and I wonder what we, as citizens can do to make things honest. Sadly, I don't think there are many solutions.
Do read this book for enjoyment and excitement and most of all, for the knowledge it will give you. You'll be smarter and better for it. It will really open your eyes to the way things are done in not just third world countries, but our country too.
My husband and I listened to this book on a recent trip to the Smokey Mountains. Here is the entire back description:
In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town's water supply, causing the worse "cancer cluster" in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.
Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?
The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court justice. THEIR Supreme Court justice.
"The Appeal" is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of political and legal intrigue, a story that will leave listeners unable to think about our electoral process or judicial system in quite the same way ever again.
Great book or gift! In a crowded court room in Mississippi a jury makes a shocking decision about a chemical company who polluted the water. Could someone have paid them off and financed a judge of their choice to the Supreme Court? You will never see our justice system the same way again.
I really enjoyed this book and the politics of a small town being blown over by and evil corporation out to destroy whomever in the name of money, creed, power and politics.... A bit heartbreaking at times.
A well-written potboiler that makes you hate the political system of our country more that you probably already do. The calculating way that elected officials are bought and sold by corporate America is indescribably depressing and Grisham illustrates that with his usual competence.
I love John Grisham's stories. He is a great writer - but this one was missing the spark his novels usually have. i think that he was more trying to send a message of how dirty politics are and their effect on laws and justice. I give it two and a half stars.
As a paralegal in a small-town law firm, I can attest to the fact that a lot about this book was very realistic. There were many themes - life isn't fair, money = power, every lawsuit is equivalent to gambling, etc. I enjoyed the book, but found it to be depressing also. I will probably never look at a Supreme Court justice the same way again.
Although Grisham has returned to his popular courtroom setting, it doesn't feel like the magic is back with this book. The cast of characters is so large that it's hard to relate with any one, and easy to get them confused with one another.
In the author's notes at the end of the book, Grisham admits that he was making a political point with this novel. Frankly, in an election year, another dose of politics is the last thing that I'm looking for.
After such a long time finally there is another court novel by Grisham. Basically the story is about the town Bowmore, where people are warned to drink the local water. Where clean water is trucked in to replace the colored, stinky and obviously life threatening water. A town where cancer is almost in every family and where the cancer rate is 15% higher than the national average.
Wes and Mary Grace Payton are lawyers and so far, the only once that sued the Krane Chemical Corporation for 30 years of relieving cancer causing chemicals into Bowmores ground. They give everything, their live savings, their house, their office in those five years it took them to get a verdict.
So in the case Janet Barker vs. Krane Chemical Corp. the jury decides against Chemical Corp in all points:
Guilty for causing the death by Chad and Pete Barker, Janet's son and husband. Liability $500.000 for Chad and $2.500.000 for Pete.
Guilty for the intentional imposition of punitive damages. Liability $38.000.000
Of course there is an appeal and Carl Trudeau, millionaire and owner of the Krane Corp. hires a suspicious firm that promises to find a good candidate for the upcoming judicial elections to replace the most liberal Judge in Mississippi's Supreme Court. Until then a decision in Krane's case isn't expected anyway. Krane pays for these services and a young, clean, ambitious and most of all conservative lawyer is found in Ron Fisk, husband and father to three children. They build him up. They collect the money for his campaign. The money comes from the big business. Companies like Krane Chemical Corporation, churches and private people.
Ron speaks for families, about the death penalty and that sexual predators and killers aren't executed, he's pro gun possession and against gay marriage.
After what seems for Ron to be an easy campaign he is elected and takes his place in the Supreme Court. Mississippis Supreme Court holds 9 people. Five of them protect corporate wrongdoers by limiting their liability and verdicts are reversed one after another.
When it is time to decide about the Krane Corp. Appeal Ron experiences his own tragic family disaster after his son got hit by a baseball that leaves him with a fractured scull and likely permanent damage to the brain. He experienced how those people whose verdicts were reversed by him must have felt when their loved once got hurt or even died.
A long, depressing read that kept me thinking all the time. It isn't fast paced but there is no necessity to that. The mills of justice grind slowly. So the reader is dragged into the tragedy of Bowmore and corporate behavior and the inability to vouch for their liabilities. In a world of money there is no such thing like responsibility. There is only the question how to get out of the mess with the least damage.
It was shocking to even read about settlement plans for Bowmores aggrieved party where the loss or illness of a child is worth much less than adults because they have no record of earning power. That young fathers are worth more because of the loss of future wages. Negotiations about still alive people, how long each would live, how much they will suffer, likelihood of survival and death. It was distressing to read about that.
It is also distressing to read about the ways money is risen and used to mislead the voters. The whole process of half-truths, statements taken out of contexts just to make a point for the own campaign is disgusting.
Of course the book is based on fiction but it has a lot of truth and at times like these, where Americans are about to elect their new president, it is even more something each and very voter out there wholeheartedly should consider.
This was a very interesting book. I was fascinated by the amount of effort in characters to accomplish their task. It made me wonder if it was true to life. Grisham wrote it in such a realistic style that it makes a believer out of the reader. Captivating story!